Samaranch says Quayle thanked his wife for Atlanta visit

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The Independent Online

IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch said today that he was willing to answer "all kinds" of questions during his Congressional appearance this week, including questions about a trip his wife took at the expense of Atlanta bidding officials.

IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch said today that he was willing to answer "all kinds" of questions during his Congressional appearance this week, including questions about a trip his wife took at the expense of Atlanta bidding officials.

Samaranch said that his wife's 1990 visit to Atlanta had received endorsement from former Vice President Dan Quayle.

Samaranch is to appear on Wednesday at a hearing of the House commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations. Lawmakers have said they want to question Samaranch about $12,000 in expenses Atlanta bidders paid for his wife and a friend during a trip to Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina in 1990.

At a news conference, Samaranch said that his wife, Maria Teresa, had accepted the invitation to visit because he was unable to attend.

"My wife was invited by the organizing comittee," he said. "She didn't ask to go there."

"During her stay in Atlanta she received a very nice letter from the vice president of the United States, Mr Quayle, thanking her for being in Atlanta and visiting the organizing committee.

Atlanta officials have indicated they violated IOC gift rules in lobbying for the 1996 Games. But they have denied that the gifts and favours showered on IOC members were designed to buy their votes or corrupt the process that led to Atlanta's selection.

"I am ready to answer all kinds of questions," Samaranch said when asked how he would respond to Congressional questioning about his wife's activities.

Samaranch added that, while in Washington, he would meet with White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey on Tuesday . McCaffrey had been a vocal critic of Samaranch and the IOC project for a world anti-doping agency, but he recently endorsed the plan after meeting with IOC vice president Dick Pound.

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